My Kind of Town.

I was lazy when coming up with a title. I went with the classic song by Frank Sinatra about you guessed it, Chicago.

I had a great conversation today with my good friend form class Zoe. As we talked about our hometowns, Chicago and L.A., Zoe mentioned she had never been to Chicago.

Of course I got so pumped and probably had diarrhea of the mouth talking about it and talking about it.

But before I could get 1/100th of what I wanted to out, we had to start class. So in class I was inspired to give my own Chicago tourism guide and post it here. But first a couple things:

-fellow Chicagoans, feel free to correct me, or add your own things in comments

-I’ll be studying Spanish here in Ann Arbor this summer during July/August and will be in Chicago during May/June. Point being if anyone visits Chi-city and wants to meet up for lunch or a baseball game, feel free to contact me!

-Here is a quick background of my Chicago credentials so that way you can decide if I’m legit or not. My family on my mom’s side grew up and lived in a North side neighborhood called Lincoln Park. The neighborhoods near downtown are really expensive and drive a lot of the blue collar families north or south. So they moved to a town called Park Ridge that is the first burb outside city limits. I’ve made it to the Lakefront from my house in 18 minutes. At 14 I took the Metra train and then a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) bus to get to high school – a prep school on the near west side, St. Ignatius. I was on the crew team there and the first two years practice was on the North side and the next two years on the South side. After high school I’ve worked construction all over the downtown area every summer. So I guess I think I have my Chicago chops from growing up near the city, taking all forms of public transportation, (even the El train), driving on the Kennedy Expressway every morning, driving all over the grid system downtown and rowing on the nasty ass Chicago river and watching the sunrise from a view not many Chicagoans have seen. But ultimately, my Chicago chops are determined by my readers.

So if you get a chance to come to Chi-town, here are some places I think you gotta go to:

Cubs game. It kills me to say this, because I am a White Sox fan but if you want the Chicago experience, tourist style hit up a Cubs game. Sure there will be some old timer die hard fans there who have been waiting 96 years for a World Series, but mostly Wrigley is a big beer garden party for younger people and just an overall good time. I would argue the real Chicago experience is taking the red line (El train) to 35th and going to a Sox game. That’s the blue collars who are hootin an hollerin all game and will talk your ear off about anything from Mayor Rahm to the great Chicago fire and more. White Sox games are cheaper and the park is more modern, but Wrigley is just a national treasure. It’s like the freakin Colosseum. The ivy, Old Style beer, and they do have great french fries there. Plus Wrigleyville (the surrounding neighborhood is vibrant and lively and has plenty of bars you can go to before and after the game.

Navy Pier. Not a lot of out of towners know what this is. But it’s pretty fun. There’s a huge ferris wheel, funhouse, and millions of boats dying to take you out on the lake so you can get a view of the whole skyline. Just eat before you go here, food is pricey and mostly chain restaurants.

Sears Tower (not Willis Tower, that’s so dumb) or John Hancock building. Either are great for views of the city, but the Hancock is closer to the lake and on a perfectly clear day, you can see the opposite shores of Michigan. At least that’s my experience. It be Indiana though, but either way.

-Michigan Ave. So this is called the Magnificent Mile and is full of all kinds of shops and restaurants and places where if you have money to spend, you’ll spend it here. Something on Michigan Ave that’s cool is ‘the Bean’ which you should take your picture by. It’s at Millennium Park and is just pretty neat. It’s also like 200 yards from the Art Institute of Chicago which has some really cool shit.

-I think that’s it. I mean there’s really an infinite amount of things you could do or places you could go. You could take your picture with the Michael Jordan statue outside the United Center, you could go to the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum (with Sue the dinosaur) or the Science Museum (which has a German U-boat). You could eat at Ditka’s, go to North Avenue beach for the day or even find a bar or restaurant since they’re everywhere and for the most part all of them are good.

-As for food, I’ll give you only a few because there is a million places. Chicago has this thing called the Italian Beef sandwich. Now, there is a chain in Chicago called Portillo’s and you can get it there and it’s decent but it’s not the best beef in Chicago. There are two places I’d recommend for a beef sandwich. Mr. Beef on Orleans St. and Jonnie’s Beef on North Ave. in Elmwood Park (a neighborhood north of downtown). So amazing. Jonnie’s has great fries and also Italian ice. But the best Italian ice is a place only open during summer on Taylor St. called Mario’s. It’s this little shack that has like 20 flavors and they’re all good and refreshing. For a Chicago style hot dog, you’ll want to check out Wiener’s Circle on Clark or actually Portillo’s, I gotta give it up to them they make a mean Chicago style dog. For non carnivorous options, you can check out so many pizza places. Chicagoans don’t really eat Deep Dish, because it’s just something we’re used to. But if you’re visiting you gotta try it. You’ll laugh next time pizza house tries to say they are serving Chicago pizza. You can go to Pizzeria Due or Gino’s East or Oven Grinder’s. All solid choices for pizza. For those over 21, you have to try Old Style beer, 312 beer and if you are an east or west coaster you have to try Summer Shandy – so good.


Sorry for the super long post, but if you’re ever traveling to Chi-City, check out some of this stuff and I know you won’t be let down. There’s really something for everyone and there’s so many unique things, just like every city or town. They all have great things to offer and I’m glad I got to share some of Chicago’s with you.



(Go White Sox)

MY brutal paragraph

this is from a paper I recently wrote on comparing the modernity of football and baseball. needless to say I was stretching this baby out.


“The history of the sport of baseball is long and complex and also can be seen as blazing the trail for the other professional sports and the leagues that govern them. Baseball began as an urban game, played in boroughs and a variation of cricket (Markovits, Lecture, February 6, 2013). The sport grew as it became organized into a league and also distinguished itself from any collegiate or amateur versions by paying athletes. It was during the 1920’s and the 1950’s that baseball reined supreme as the most popular sport – this was its golden age (Markovits, Lecture, February 6, 2013). Baseball enjoyed this popularity because it was always so closely associated with ideals America was founded on – there are many components to baseball that contribute to this such as the fact that is untimed, and play is dictated by weather. This is very resembling to the agricultural society that dominated the pre-modern/pre-industrialization America. But how did baseball go from being the most popular sport for the first half of the twentieth century, to taking out ad space during the Super Bowl? This has to do with the rise of the National Football League and the luck it happened to have one fall in 1958. ”



Great Blog Layout/Presentation

Whenever I typed into Google, “popular WordPress blogs” or “blogs using WordPress” I only got stuff that was about the best layouts and stuff like that. Which is what we are looking for, but layouts that are already being put in practice. So I went to and then looked at this page which shows some popular blogs on WordPress. I poked around and found this one that I thought was really cool. Not only was the idea cool, but I thought the simple presentation of black and red on white background was cool and although I could definitely see the argument of the font being hard to read, I thought that it just looked like this person’s hand writing and it was cool to me. It’s a simple design, a simple yet interesting idea, and this is blog that made me say “yeah I’d definitely browse around here.”

Here it is:




Does anyone listen to music while writing?

So I was just about to sit down and throw down some serious action on my ‘Why I Write’ and I turned on some music. I always do this when I write anything but this time I paused. I was wondering if I need it to write and after trying without it for like 30 seconds I realized I do. I also realized it’s not to have something on, but it helps me get into a ‘rhythm’ and I just start crankin out sentences. Also I’ll hear a lyrics or a word here or there that’ll inspire me.

Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else threw on some music while they wrote. If so, for what reason(s)? Is there any specific type of music you have to have on if you do write with it? (This sounds really academic-y but I’m genuinely curious)

I know for me it depends what stage I’m in on a piece and what type of writing I’m doing. For something like ‘Why I Write’ I gotta throw on some oldddddd Kanye/Common like ‘Hey Mama’ ‘Love Is…’ ‘The Corner’ ‘Heard Em Say’ and believe it or not a little Darius Rucker in there too. And some Matchbox 20. I don’t know there’s pretty much no type of music I can’t listen to.


I hope this generates some discussion


If this wasn’t written for me… I don’t know what is

Here is an article I found about the higher education bubble. This article was perfectly written. I’m really sick and want to go to bed so when I saw this was a two page article I was not pumped. But then I read the first sentence and before I knew it I was done. The article gets the general idea of higher education bubble across to me in a simple, clear concise way at the end of basically a funny/interesting Caddyshack article.


this article seemed (just by the title, I could barely read 3 paragraphs) targeted at recent college graduates. so people who already have paid their dues as far as higher ed bubble.


anyway two articles with contrasting styles and one that worked great for me and one that didn’t



Link for something way over my head – Carl Schmitt

Above is a link to a text that at times I found to be way over my head. I just had to read it for a class, but I found that the author was really superfluous with the words and, much like other political science literature in my opinion, he just clutters up the main idea. The use of big words in succession doesn’t impress anyone in my opinion it just makes it harder to read. My common sense says that political theorists would want their theories understood by as many people as possible but by using such technical and cluttered language it becomes difficult to focus and discern his point. Granted this was written in the early 1930’s but still it could be way simpler.



Matt O’Donnell: The Man the myth the legend (yeah i went there)


This is me at a Chicago music festival, Lollapalooza, with mono, summer 2010. Total Dork.


I’m Matt O’Donnell aka Matt, MJ (middle name John), OD, odonns, pretty much whatever you want to call me is fine. I’m 20 so close to be 21. If I ever ran for president I like to think I have the Midwest vote on LOCK. I was born in Indiana raised in Chicago, did my first 2 years of college in Iowa, every summer spend time in Wisconsin, and I now attend U of M. Die hard Chicago sports and hip hop fan. I’m not a math/science person, love to write in my free time and occasionally paint (my mom’s hobby is painting and it’s pretty chill – no lie). Love playing basketball with my buddies and just having a good time. I like to think I am a jack of all trades and master of none which is cool with me. I’ll wrap it up with some quick bio facts. I was raised by a single mom and her parents. My grandpa was like my dad growing up, lost him when I was 11. A big source for all my writing comes from that. I went to high school on the west side of Chicago and since I was 5’1 and 103 pounds as a freshman was unable to play basketball so I was on the rowing team (real cool experience). I grew up a lot going to school in the city. When I’m home I work construction in downtown Chicago. The company I work for does everything from housing projects to penthouses so it’s a pretty unique experience. I have a collie her name is Brandy and is definitely my best friend. That’s the main points for me I guess just comment if you want to know anything else. Oh and for clarification, this is very important, I’m NOT a Cubs fan. White Sox all day.

Untrustworthy Source: ESPN/ESPN Chicago

In this post is a link to a recap of a game between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. I included this link because in my opinion, over the last 6-7 years, ESPN has become more of an entertainment channel instead of reporting unbiased information about sports and games. This particular article came from ESPN Chicago. I feel that it is untrustworthy to take knowledge about the game from this article because it was written by a Chicago sports writer. In the article he says the Bulls earned their way back into the game by playing well at the end. Although this might be true, a Detroit sports reporter might write about how the Pistons gave the game away at the end by showing fatigue. Although I am a big Chicago sports fan and frequent this website to check on my teams, I do think the information can be untrustworthy and biased. They also have a lot of articles about the progress of the Bulls star, Derrick Rose and his return from a torn ACL. Since recovery from such types of injuries are difficult to predict, and journalists are in a bind to have material in a 24 hour news cycle, they make a lot of claims and suppositions about Rose’s return.